Thursday, May 11, 2006

"The Constitution is not a suicide pact"

We Go to War for Civil Liberties?

By Rush Limbaugh

December 19, 2005


RUSH: I got an e-mail from a friend of mine in St. Louis. "Rush, did you hear what Tim Russert said after Bush's press conference today?" He said, paraphrasing -- and I haven't seen this, so I probably ought to double-check this, but we will. Paraphrasing, Russert said, "People go to war to protect their civil liberties, so isn't counterproductive to take away these liberties while doing it?" All of you out there listening, how many of you think we go to war to protect civil liberties? When is the last time you heard a president declare war on the basis that we gotta go protect our civil liberties? I can't think of one, and I have a fertile memory, my friends. Lots of deep, dark crevices in my brain, and still half of it's tied behind my back to make it fair, and even that I don't remember. We do not go to war to protect our civil liberties. That's like saying we go to war for peace. We don't do that, either. You go to war to kill people and break things, and that leads to the other things. The primary reason for going to war, you heard the president talk about it time and time again today, to save lives. We go to war, and we are at war to save our lives so that we will then have the opportunity to continue protecting our civil liberties. Our civil liberties are worthless if we are dead! If you are dead and pushing up daisies, if you're sucking dirt inside a casket, do you know what your civil liberties are worth? Zilch, zero, nada. You aren't even here! Ask the families, ask the people who were in the World Trade Center towers right before they were attacked if they are more concerned with the loss of their civil liberties than the loss of their lives. They can't sue Saddam Hussein for loss of civil liberties because they're dead. How can you sue somebody for your civil liberties being taken away when they killed you first? This gets more absurd with the passing of each hour. Who's next on this program?
Texarkana, Texas. Isn't that where Perot was born?
CALLER: It's great to talk to you, Merry Christmas and thank you for everything you do.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I just wanted to say I really hope that every conservative will be ready and be patient, and God willing it won't happen, but if it does, if there's an attack after the Patriot Act now is dead, every Democrat, especially the leadership, they need to be held responsible for this.
RUSH: Oh. They will be.
CALLER: Because if it's proven that the attack was made possible because the intelligence industry did not have the tools of the Patriot Act to prevent it like they have the last four years, it's the Democrats' responsibility. RUSH: Said this on Friday. We know who to blame. If we get hit again, we know whose responsibility it is. It's the Democrats in the Senate and these four Republicans: Larry Craig, Chuck Hagel, Lisa Murkowski and Sununu. For what reasons I can't imagine, they voted with the Democrats on this. Probably something to do with civil liberties, because I guess, you know, you gotta be concerned, folks. If you lose your civil liberties, what's life worth? You may as well die. (interruption) Craig doesn't like some of the provisions in the House bill? Larry Craig doesn't like it. Do you know what the provisions in the House bill are that Larry Craig doesn't like? Because I don't know what the provisions in the House bill are that Larry Craig doesn't like. I don't know what Hagel's reason is. I don't know any of their reasons, but I know they weren't sent there to vote this way, that's not what the people who elected them thought was going to end up happening. By the way, can I ask you a question? This whole NSA thing, this is how the template was set. And I'm not going to accept the premise that civil liberties have been violated. Somebody tell me what civil liberties have been violated. I want to know, give me one person who is in jail who has been falsely charged because of the Patriot Act. Folks, I'm going to leave myself out of this. Tempting but I'm going to leave myself out of this. Patriot Act hasn't been diddly-squat to me. I'm going to leave myself out of this. I want to know, what civil liberty is being violated? I want the press to answer this question. If we're going to go to war to protect our civil liberties, what the hell civil liberties have been lost? What are we losing? What are the civil liberties that we have lost? The press is disloyal as ever, nobody is stopping their anti-American reporting apart from a prosecutor that they demanded. What's the press been stopped from doing, what civil liberties have anybody been prevented from utilizing? What? Somebody tell me. Oh, you know who -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. My friends, I apologize. I forgot what this is about. We are talking about the civil liberties of terrorists. They're the ones who must be protected. They're the ones who are protected against so-called torture. They must be given the rights -- thank you, Senator McCain -- afforded to US citizens under the US Constitution. They're the ones who must get lawyers. That's right: the Patriot Act is screwing with the terrorists. Sorry.

RUSH: We've been playing a little game here, Stump the Staff, during the break at the top of the hour. I asked them a little history question. I know my history, and I think not enough people do, particularly in the news media. I know my history, and I asked them one simple question. "Who said, 'The Constitution is not a suicide pact?'" And they guessed. What did you say? Truman, FDR, Kennedy. Those are the three guesses. Nope. "Who said, 'The Constitution is not a suicide pact?'" It was Abraham Lincoln. The telephone number, if you want to be on the program, is 800-282-2882. The e-mail address is Let me give you just a little Civil War history. During the Civil War, there was a group called the Copperheads. Now, the Copperheads have a modern equivalent today, the peace movement of the Democratic Party, or basically the Democratic Party. They were called the Copperheads back then. A former Ohio congressman, a man by the name of Clement Vallandigham called the prosecution of the Civil War wicked and cruel and he suggested that Lincoln and the Republican Party were using the Civil War to establish a dictatorship. Troops of the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry seized Clement Vallandigham from his home in Dayton. A military commission tried him for treasonable utterances and turned him over to the confederate army. Jefferson Davis didn't want Vallandigham any more than Lincoln did and eventually shipped him off to Canada from where he managed to slip back into the United States. Abraham Lincoln lamented, "Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?" Why, this conjures up all kinds of fun things! Grabbing Dingy Harry, putting him on trial, and expelling him to the remote regions of Pakistan where Al-Qaeda is holing up. That's interesting to contemplate. Abraham Lincoln did it. I don't know how he ever got a monument. The Democrats must have been looking the other way. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact," Abraham Lincoln. This is exactly how the Democrats would like it to read today. It is a suicide pact. We must extend constitutional rights to enemy combatants, according to the left, according to Senator McCain. We have the Tim Russert sound bite. Can we play that, please? Here's Russert. This is after the president's press conference today.
RUSSERT: The reason we go to war is to protect our civil liberties. Constant references obviously to President Nixon back in '72 who tried to monitor, eavesdrop on American citizens and the Supreme Court said, no, you can't do that. I remember President Nixon having the doctrine of preventive detention where he would arrest war demonstrators ahead of time and here in Washington put them into RFK stadium and the courts threw that out.
RUSH: Russert, yesterday, the Meet the Press show today, can't get off of Nixon. He can't get off of Watergate. Because that's the mode; that's the template: Bush is Nixon. This is Watergate. The war is Vietnam -- and they're not going to stop until they convince the American people of this. We don't go to war to protect our civil liberties; we go to war to save our lives. Our civil liberties are worthless if we are dead. If we have all assumed room temperature, folks, our civil liberties don't count diddly-squat. Again, I have to ask these people, what civil liberty is being violated here? I would love for the press to answer this question, what civil liberties are we losing? The press can be as disloyal to the country as they've ever been, nobody is stopping them from being anti-American or their reporting being anti-American. Take it back. Pat Fitzgerald put a woman in jail, but they wanted that prosecutor. They wanted that case.

FDR? Did he protect civil liberties when he rounded up 110,000 Japanese and moved them from their homes and businesses to internment camps? And Lincoln suspended habeas corpus? Lincoln actually deported somebody he thought was just an agitator? Somebody he thought was just an agitator? How about RFK, Robert F. Kennedy, authorizing the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Last I looked, Lincoln and FDR are among our greatest presidents ever, among our greatest civil libertarians ever. You want to test this, go tell some Democrat friend of yours that FDR was no friend of civil liberties. See what you get. They think he's the greatest guy we've ever had, and RFK the greatest president we almost had is also considered to be a fabulous guy and he's out there wiretapping Martin Luther King. Are these the kind of civil liberties these people are talking about? I need to have this answered because I can round up all kinds of Democrats that violate civil liberties left and right in the prosecution of war because the Constitution is not a death sentence, Abraham Lincoln. It's not a suicide pact.

RUSH: You want to hear some more history? Lincoln suspended the
writ of habeas corpus when he had reporters thrown into prison, because they wrote against him in the union. He threw nine members of the Maryland legislature into prison to prevent that state from possibly pulling out of the union. This is all history and when you understand history, it will put him in even greater context just how legally and in a restrained fashion Bush is fighting this war. Lincoln is one of our greatest presidents ever. Here he deports an agitator to the south. The south, "We don't want the guy." They recognize a traitor when they see one. They send him to Canada. Can you imagine sending Dingy Harry over to Pakistan or Afghanistan? Ha-ha! Can you imagine putting New York Times reporters in jail? Except the president didn't do that. Sorry, the prosecutor they asked for did. Can you imagine the president doing this? Folks, folks, I can't tell you what I would do if the president decided to put the press in jail. (Gasping) We are in the midst of a war, and when you understand that everything changes -- and if you don't have a historical context for these kinds of things, if you think history began the day you were born, and so nothing that has happened outside your lifetime is relevant, you're not going to understand the important things about the country's past and preserving our country's future. This business of going to war to protect civil liberties that Tim Russert's been on the past couple days, the Supreme Court has made clear that at a time of war the president has inherent powers to protect national security. That's why there's one commander-in-chief and not 535 of them. The court's made a distinction between the criminal justice system and military actions, including intelligence activities related to national security. It's all in the opinions, Tim, go read the opinions, they're right there for everybody to read. You people in the media can read these opinions. They're worried about judicial review, go review some judicial works. It's all in there. It's why some of this stuff is so frustrating. I watched these people ask the president questions and comment, and it's clear they don't know any history, either. Can you imagine the argument you would get into with your average run-of-the-mill White House reporter if sit them down and say, "You know what Lincoln did to people like you? Put you in jail!" "He did not!" "Yes, he did." "Well, he must have had a reason." They can't really complain about Lincoln because he ended slavery. How can they start criticizing Lincoln, the libs? And you know what else he did? He put nine members of the Maryland legislature in jail too, and he suspended the writ of habeas corpus and he deported some former congressman from Ohio who was an agitator, and you think what's going on now poses a threat to the country? You're the threat! But you send an average reporter down and give them just this little bit of history and I guarantee you it will be all over the world that Limbaugh lies, makes things up just to fit his context. They won't even bother looking it up, they'll find it so absurd. "Not possible in this country," they'll say.

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